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  • Thursday, June 28, 2012

    Dubailand is back on with Marvel Theme Park

    If there was anything to kick start something back into reality, it's an exclusive Marvel theme park. The dust has settled and it's time to bring back the big projects

    Disney to introduce Marvel characters in Middle East theme park:

    Disney plans to introduce the Avengers, X-Men,  Spider-Manand other Marvel characters in a theme-park setting for the first time since acquiring the comic book company in 2009. The Marvel Adventure family entertainment center is expected to open in late 2013 in the United Arab Emirateswith superhero-themed attractions, restaurants and shops. The eight-acre indoor mini theme park will be part of the $5-billion City of Arabia entertainment, commercial and residential development in Dubailand.

    This paragraph is interesting:

    The corporate parent of Marvel has gone to great lengths to make clear that the Dubai project is strictly a licensing agreement not involving Disney theme parks or Walt Disney Imagineering, the creative arm of the company. To that end, Marvel issued a statement that read in part: "The Marvel entertainment destination is not a theme park, it is a family entertainment center."
    But for theme park and comic book fans, Marvel Adventure marks the first foray into a themed entertainment setting under the nascent Disney-Marvel partnership, stoking curiosity about what Imagineering has planned for the superheroes at the company's theme parks in California, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

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    Dubai is running out of time, gentlemen

    A war in an apocalyptic Dubai? This is a videogame based in the future. You can quite clearly see the Burj Khalifa in the background - and the team appears to be liberating Dubai after it seems to be taken over post sandstorms. Here's the video:

    It paints a horrible scenario:

    IT'S BEEN 6 MONTHS SINCE DUBAI WAS WIPED OFF THE MAP BY A CATACLYSMIC SANDSTORM. Once the world's most fantastical city, Dubai is now its most opulent ruin. Ravaged by cataclysmic sandstorms, THE CITY LIES BURIED, reclaimed by the desert. Abandoned, it has become a no-man's-land for refugees and outlaws. While most people fled the now-barren wasteland, U.S. Army Colonel John Konrad and the 33rd Infantry remained behind to PROTECT THOSE INCAPABLE OF ESCAPE. Unable to contact anyone in Dubai, the world believed  KONRAD AND HIS TEAM DEAD, until they picked up a weak distress signal. As Captain Walker, you and your squad of Delta Operators INFILTRATE THE TRECHEROUS REGION to locate survivors. There, you and your men will experience madness - A world shattered by the failings of great men. You will face an enemy you were never trained to fight - Fellow soldiers prepared to accept the consequences of their actions. You will walk a line - That razor-thin edge separating your mission from your duty. THERE IS NO ESCAPE from Dubai. It is the end - of honor and duty - when the storm has stripped you to the bone and ONLY THE LINE REMAINS

    Looks like there is still construction going on! and you can see more about the Fall of Dubai at the spec ops site, but it is gruesome.

    The game is called Spec Ops: The Line  (for those into this kinda stuff) - and it's on xbox360

    More at http://www.specopstheline.com/us/#info - but it is gruesome, even though it is a game. You have been warned.

    from Joystiq

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    Tuesday, June 26, 2012

    Burj Khalifa Dubai Map Extravaganza

    The blur between map fiction and reality is changing. Years ago, we had the option of a physical atlas or your imagination. The world has changed and we are able to view the world in different ways. Satellite imagery of areas is readily available and detailed mapping have been brought to market by consumers such as Bing, Google and soon Apple, with their announcement of Apple Maps. Flyover looks exciting! And so does user generated maps. Openmaps is a great mapping product available for everyone and for everyone to contribute. When Google Streetview (only available in some cities) is also exciting and when it first came out, everyone was gagging to see their own home. There were concerns about privacy, but Streetview game changing - and so is this new wave of consumer mapping. Understanding your context for the layman is more an more important, whether it's to facebook checkin or to tag and geolocate their data or position. Cartographers (those people that make maps) will probably be either super excited or overly angry about what's happening. But to Joe Public,  it's exciting. What's also exciting is a new wave of photography or bold photographers who are taking some amazing shots at amazing places - and then using Photoshop to make it even more so! Map Mashups,  Apps and other such things are making this space very exciting. And so, with Bing Maps updating their satellite imagery , we thought it useful to look at a place in the world, that didn't really exist in the old days of mapping - Burj Khalifa, Dubai's tallest building:

    Let's look at Bing first:

    It's fairly simple, but you see their new edition with satellite imagery and it's a little more impressive:

    Yes, it's more than impressive.

    We have the official map from the Dubai Government:

     - clear, fun and simple.

    The Open Street Map does what it was supposed to do:

    and it's not bad considering it is open sourced!

    The Google maps range from amusing to great. This first one, pitches Burj Khalifa in a warped way, not really as a the tallest image in the world:

    But the mapping it pretty damn good and it's what you're used to. And it gets better with its openGL version:

    You can see that the Burj has grown somewhat. But the Google Earth version is pretty damn amazing:

    if you have google earth, you can even fly in...almost.

    But the reality looks even more amazing if you look at GeoEye's satelllite photo:

    And you can see that the reality from closer up is very similar with this photo from Stephanie Compoint

    as these two also show:

    And it's also interesting looking at the original plan of the Burj Khalifa (then named Burj Dubai)

    and from Emaar's brochures:

    For map geeks, it's an interesting time - we look forward to see if the Burj Khalifa will appear on Apple Maps on ios6 - and indeed whether anyone else steps into the mapping game.

    With global connectivity increasing at pace, in a few years, you may not even need a physical map. But in the mean time, we can still dream.

    Burj Khalifa - At the top

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    Wednesday, June 20, 2012

    Wee Tea

    A case of the bizarre

    A housemaid accused of putting urine in a family’s tea did it because a friend said it would make the employers like her, Dubai Court of Misdemeanours was told.

    The 26-year-old Indonesian went on trial yesterday accused of endangering the lives of the family. “One day I was speaking with another housemaid and she told me to urinate on the floor and put it in the family food and tea and then they would treat me well and wouldn’t abandon me. I was putting a spoon of urine in the tea before serving it. I did it seven times.”

    And the moral of this story is - be kind to your maid, if you are luck enough to have one.

    Dubai maid's urine plan was a bid to be liked

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    Thursday, June 14, 2012

    Hello Kitty Beauty Spa Dubai

    Another first for Dubai with the launch of the first Hello Kitty Spa in Dubai. Pitched for both big girls and little girls, this place is a perfect treat for both mothers and daughters, girly girls - and those that need a pampering. As we all know Sanrio are very particular about their brand, so this is a big step for Hello Kitty. Hello Kitty already exists in Dubai in Dubai Mall, but this is the place for those in the know who want to get pampered Hello Kitty stylee.

    It is an ingenious idea and wondering why it hasn't been done before. And, let's be honest, this is perfect for Dubai. For expats, for local Emirati - and no doubt for the tourists - this will be a great place for the girls to come while the dad's play a round of golf. Based in Jumeirah, it is near Mercato Mall in Town Centre Jumeirah.Contact them on +97143449598

    Congratulations to Fatima Sharaf on orchestrating such a place and getting a great concept to market.

    And here is the official spiel:

    The world's first ever, Hello Kitty Beauty Spa set to open at Town Centre Jumeirah; it is the first character-branded Spa in the Middle East. Destined to appeal to a high end and leisure clientele alike, Hello Kitty Beauty Spa is poised to transform the face of beauty and pampering. The Beauty Spa is themed and designed on the famous Japanese character 'Hello Kitty' and specially designed for 'Queens' and their little 'Princesses' who demand nothing less than posh pampering.

    This lofty and luxurious Beauty Spa headed by Fatima Sharaf, Director of the Sharaf Retail, is a fantasy world for any girl regardless of her age. Her concept states that the Hello Kitty Beauty Spa is an innovative extension to the brand which allows a younger audience to experience the luxury and pleasures of a day at the Beauty Spa, within an environment that represents the brand.

    Hello Kitty Beauty Spa set up has been designed keeping in mind the 'vintage girly look'. Upon entering the minimalist reception with a display of all the best Hello Kitty goodies, area features classy white chairs with background of Hello Kitty face outline; the large red silk bow in the background just takes your breath away. With privacy as an important factor, beautiful white drapes divide the reception area from the service floor. Kitty Café is the cutest thing you see as soon as you enter the spa; a little corner has been dedicated to the café which serves Hello Kitty cup cakes, cookies, fresh juices and flavored teas. Organic cupcakes are also available at the Kitty Café for organic food lovers.

    The furniture of the Beauty Spa has been designed according to the spa theme, which is vintage chic. The chairs and couches are all classic white and pink, with Hello Kitty branding wherever possible. The touch of velvet hot pink and frilly fabric lamp shades just add the right amount of glamour in the set up. The party area of the beauty spa is combined with the make-up and styling area, it has a complete fairy tale like look, with a round pink couch and a display of Hello Kitty goodies around the area. 

    Hello Kitty Beauty Spa services include nails, facials, hair and make-up. The Beauty Spa offers a separate service menu for 'Queen' and 'Princesses', offering all organic nail and beauty products for young girls. Hello Kitty Beauty Spa menu also includes beauty packages for an all-day posh pampering experience. Complementing this habitat of creativity are the stylists and therapists. Each having extensive background and proven track record in their field, they continue to research and practice new styles and technicalities in hair, nails and styling. 

    Hello Kitty Beauty Spa Dubai
    More photos

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    Wednesday, June 13, 2012

    Male Mammographers in Abu Dhabi

    Breast cancer is a serious thing - we jest you not. And so, mammography is an important thing that the ladies must go through on a timely basis. But the most recent problem in a culturally sensitive place like Abu Dhabi is that males are doing the mammography:

    “I had asked for an appointment with a female technologist at a private hospital, but was told there would be a delay of a few months. Since I was worried and wanted to check that there was no risk from a cyst that had been diagnosed, I agreed to a male technician doing the screening. It was very, very difficult,” H.H. said.
    When asked why she didn’t seek an appointment at another hospital, H.H. said she had tried to get a consultation elsewhere but couldn’t get any immediate appointments at the time.
    Dr Jalaa Taher, head of cancer control and prevention at the HAAD, told Gulf News that cultural sensitivities in the UAE made the whole process extremely distressing for women, especially since mammograms require intensive assessments for over ten minutes.

    Should men be allowed to perform mammograms? Yes. Should women have to be scanned by men? No. Is there a shortage of male mammographers in Abu Dhabi? Yes.
    For the men, who continue to scan, please listen to this public service announcement:

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    Tuesday, June 12, 2012

    Saudi's got talent - no women, no singing

    Equality czars at the ready - the latest spin off from the reality game show talentathon is a game show called Buraydah's Got Talent. Unfortunately these ladies won't be entering:

    A Saudi Arabian city's talent show contest is unlikely to produce the Middle East's answer to Susan Boyle - seeing as women and children have been banned from entering. Contestants in Buraydah's Got Talent, based in the oasis conservative hub for the austere Wahhabism branch of Islam, are also prohibited from singing or dancing. Millions across the region already follow Arabs Got Talent, the official spin-off of Simon Cowell's popular format, which airs on Dubai-based satellite channel MBC4. It will take place in the open air before a jury comprising a poet, a television producer and presenters, Al-Hayat newspaper reported, quoting forum supervisor Jalawi al-Shukair.

    As you all know, poetry is big time in Arabia, so expect there to be some super lyrics. But remember, no singing is allowed. Or else.

    spotted from Saudi Arabia News

    Saudi Got Talent has no women or music
    Daily Mail

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    Monday, June 11, 2012

    Dubai's Recovery

    Simeon Kerr on Dubai's Recovery - but can Dubai grow fast enough to fill the empty towers? The problems of Dubai - Debt and Real estate - remain a burden of sorts. While Debt can be written down over time, real estate requires new regulation. Watch the full report.

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